INDIANAPOLIS – Officials from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department identified the eight victims of the mass shooting at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis on Friday evening, more than 20 hours after the shooter opened fire on Thursday.
Families of people who worked in the warehouse were gathered at a hotel in the hours following the shooting, waiting for news. FedEx employees are not allowed to use their phones on the warehouse floor, making it difficult for employees and their loved ones to reunite.
Police identified the victims as Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Amarjeet Johal, 66; Jaswinder Kaur, 64; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74. Some family members of victims who were Sikh gave different spellings and age groups: Jasvinder Kaur, 50; Amarjit Sekhon, 49; and Jaswinder Singh, 70.
Officials said the 19-year-old gunman was a former employee of the company whose mother warned police officers last year that he could attempt “police suicide”. An FBI special agent confirmed that the shooter had been interviewed by federal agents in April 2020 and that he was “temporarily detained”.
He was not charged with a crime, and the agent said no shotgun was returned to him.
While families waited for news from their loved ones, it was reported that the FedEx facility was the workplace for many Sikh workers, some of whom were among the dead. “We are sad to confirm that at least four of the people killed in the Thursday night attacks are members of the Sikh community in Indianapolis,” the Sikh coalition, a national non-profit organization, said on Twitter.
Two of the victims, Ms. Kaur and Ms. Sekhon, commuted to the FedEx facility together, said Rimpi Girn, a family member. Mrs. Kaur was the mother of Mrs. Girn’s sister-in-law and moved from India to the USA three years ago. Ms. Sekhon, Ms. Girn’s aunt, moved from Ohio to Indianapolis to be closer to the family.
The violence in Indianapolis comes just weeks after mass shootings at spas in the Atlanta area and at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, and renews pressure on Washington lawmakers to address the deep-seated US gun violence problem.
Officials used a common word – “another” – to define the tragedy.
“This is another heartbreaking day and I am shocked by the mass shootings at the FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis,” said Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett condemned “the terrible news of another mass shooting, an act of violence that senselessly lost eight of our neighbors.”
President Biden spoke at a press conference with the Japanese Prime Minister about his support for stricter gun control measures, including universal background controls and a ban on assault weapons, but said it was up to Senate Republicans to legislate.
“This has to end,” he said, condemning mass shootings and daily gun violence in the United States. “It’s a national embarrassment.”
“Who in God’s name needs a gun that can hold a hundred rounds? Or 40 laps? Or 20 laps? “he said, referring to the military weapons that are commonly used in such attacks.” It’s just wrong. And I won’t give up until it’s done. “
The shooter was identified by law enforcement officers on Friday as Brandon Scott Hole, a 19-year-old who used to work at the camp and was already on law enforcement radar.
Mr. Hole last worked at the FedEx facility in 2020, maybe as recently as last fall, said deputy chief Craig McCartt of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. He said he didn’t know why Mr. Hole was no longer working there, and FedEx referred questions to the Indianapolis Police Department.
Authorities described a chaotic scene at the FedEx facility late Thursday when gunfire broke out around 11 p.m.
Mr. Hole arrived at the facility and quickly started shooting in the parking lot without immediate confrontation, officials said. “He just seemed to start shooting by chance,” said Chief McCartt, who said there were at least 100 people at the FedEx location at the time, including many who were changing shifts and having lunch.
He continued shooting in the building and eight people were fatally shot, authorities said. Five more were taken to hospitals with gunshot or splinter wounds, including one in critical condition that was expected to survive, authorities said. Two more were treated on the spot and released.
A staff member at the facility said 11 p.m. is a time when staff usually take a break and many relax in the parking lot. “Most go to their cars to listen to music, smoke a cigarette and something to eat,” said DJ Boyles, a 23-year-old employee who has worked there as a package handler for almost five years.
Kamal Jawandha, who said his parents both worked in the camp and were there at the time of the shooting, said his father was bringing food for his mother and getting ready to go inside when the shooting started. His mother hid in the bathroom. “She is in deep sadness,” he said of his mother. “She couldn’t sleep. She just can’t stop shaking. She can’t believe something like this would happen here. “
FBI agents helped local law enforcement officers find an Indianapolis home associated with the suspect Friday, said Chris Bavender, an FBI spokeswoman in Indianapolis. Officials seized evidence, including desktop computers and other electronic media.
The FedEx sorting facility where the shooting took place is in the southwest of the city near the airport.
The atmosphere at a nearby hotel was tense on Friday as families of workers at the facility waited for news from loved ones, many of whom were not allowed to have their cell phones at work.